Yearly Archives: 2010

Tesla Motors is not bad, Better Place is real good

tesla motors has some slick vehicles and post IPO investors have made some bank. however, as much as i’d like to have one of their rides, the prices aren’t yet practical. that is very likely to change for all electric car manufacturers if Better Place succeeds.

foreign oil independence for the USA might be closer than imagined before, but don’t be surprised if the Chinese beat us to it. in the meantime Shai Agassi is working to make our lives a better place. not by simply making the world ‘greener’ but by making automobiles BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER and AS CONVENIENT AS PETRO BASED CARS TODAY.

his approach is to use batteries the same way we use fuel (petro). this might not unique, but actually tesla and most other electric car makers take the approach of using batteries the way we currently use “fuel tanks” which is not better, faster, cheaper or as convenient as petro based cars today.

here’s a good Charlie Rose interview with Shai Agassi of Better Place

Dallas Football Classic is the 2011 TicketCity Bowl

Today TicketCity announced it’s official sponsorship of the Dallas Football Classic, dubbed the 2011 TicketCity Bowl, hosted at the Cotton Bowl Stadium!

You can learn more about the bowl game by visiting the TicketCity Bowl page. Also, you can enter a drawing to win free tickets!

By the way, this year the BCS standings are all over the place. Will TCU or Boise State get a shot at the championship? Maybe Auburn and Oregon will end up on top and face off in Glendale. Either way be sure to check back with TicketCity for Bowl Game Announcements.

TicketCity Bowl Game

Free Currency Converter for Your Website

a long time ago, i was looking for some currency conversion code, be it JavaScript or some server side code utilizing some public web service. to be honest there just wasn’t anything very decent for use inside your own website… not without paying of course. i wasn’t looking for an official and up to the minute foreign exchange service, just something a little better than what a dev like myself might hack up on the cheap.

thankfully i found exactly what i was looking for.. an unbranded currency converter that i could embed into my pages via an iframe. where do you think i got it from? you know… who else gives away more useful web tools that others charge for than… Google. i bet it’s even an up to the minute quality too… but i’m not making any promises. anyhow, i just figured there might be many of you out there like myself searching for ‘free website currency converter’ ‘iframe currency converter’ ‘currency conversion script’ or something similar. so here’s the best i’ve found.. free of charge :)

http://www.google.com/finance/converter

Mint.com Review

Have you been using Mint.com? I checked it out a year ago or so and it was pretty basic, aesthetically nice, but basic. Over the last couple of months however, I tied in most of my accounts and I gotta say it’s come a long ways in the last year. It turns out Intuit bought Mint.com last September which opened up a lot of access to various financial institutions. I still can’t wire up my GoldMoney.com or Forex.com accounts yet, but pretty much everything else.

Chase is my primary bank and I’ve always been happy with their web interface, but Mint.com opens you up to a much broader view of your finances by pulling in information from all the financial institutions you use. So, even if you think you already get enough information from your various online account interfaces or if you tried Mint.com a while back and like me weren’t impressed, you should give Mint.com a try today. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

It’s free, seriously. Basically they’re hoping to make money by discovering alternative bank, investment & credit accounts that would benefit you individually more than the accounts you already have. If you sign up for any of the new accounts they earn referral commissions.

Here’s a review from About.com

Free Gilt Invite

if you know what Gilt Groupe is and you’re just looking for a free gilt invite, enjoy.

if you’re unaware of Gilt Groupe, it’s basically an invitation only site with daily sales (up to 70% off retail) for a limited supply of luxury items.

you can’t explore the site without a membership, so feel free to use my gilt group invite and check it out.

Better Than an XBox Wireless Adapter

last week i finally decided to shell out and buy a wireless adapter for my xbox, so i could play on xbox live and stream netflix. the price for the various xbox wifi adapters has as always seemed too high for me. afterall, i might decide that xbox live isn’t for me; sure i cancel that account, but i’m left with an adapter that i can’t use for anything else.

thankfully, i googled around for xbox wireless adapter alternatives. i discovered that i could take an old home router and possibly reprogram it to act as a wifi network adapter for my xbox, but that seemed like i could spend a lot more time than i was willing to invest. then i stumbled upon something called ethernet over powerline, power over ethernet, powerline hd, etc. basically, you use the powerlines in your house or office to connect devices like an xbox to a network/internet.

for just a little more than the cost of an xbox wireless adapter i got the Netgear HDXB111 Powerline HD Plus Ethernet Adapter Kit from Frys, who had it on sale for $20 cheaper than Amazon! So, now I can use the adapters for any ethernet capable devices without having to rely on cat 5 cabling and enjoy speeds that aren’t achievable using a distant wireless router and wifi adapter.

FIX FOR: SQL Express 2008 x64, file is corrupt during install

while setting up a new windows virtual server on the rackspace cloud i ran into a hiccup. not with rackspace, so far i’m liking their setup even though it’s still in beta mode for windows. the problem actually came about with installing microsoft’s sql express 2008 x64. the installer seemed to download without any problems, all 600MB of it, but when i ran the installer (actually a self extracting cabinet file) it would get 2/3 complete and then pop a message box with “File is corrupt.” so, i’m thinking.. that’s odd that i downloaded it straight off microsoft.com. so, i google the error message real quick.. i’m still addicted to google so no bing action. google came back with tons of discussions regarding this problem, many of them on m$ sites… google “sql express 2008 file is corrupt during install” and see for yourself. the only problem is that none of those discussions had a real solution. people, like myself, were upset with many of the m$ tech responses… paraphrasing: “just keep downloading it until it works.. something is probably wrong with your anti-virus software.” no help.

ultimately here’s what worked for me: i realized that because i was downloading the sql express 2008 software from the web server.. i was using the IE browser (because i didn’t have chrome or ff installed on it.. no need). however, i wasn’t just using IE.. i was using the 64 bit version of IE. i remember long ago, with vista x64 that the 64 bit version of IE corrupted every executable I tried downloading.. so i quit using the 64 bit version and stuck with the old trusty 32 bit version. anyhow, i just downloaded sql express 2008 x64 using the 32 bit version of IE and ta-da no more “file is corrupt.”

i’m too busy to login to all those sites discussing this problem, but hopefully anybody searching for a solution to “file is corrupt” when installing sql express 2008 will find this blog entry and save themselves some time and frustration.

Website Uptime Monitoring

lately i’ve been moving a number of my websites to new hosting providers. downtime was not my motivation for moving the sites, however after hosting most of those sites with one particular company for 10 years to hosts whom i have no personal experience, uptime is concern #1. with hosting companies you never know exactly what you’re getting until you’ve been running for a while, sometimes for several years :)

i’ve used free uptime monitors for a couple of websites in the past, but i’ve never noticed any problems that would encourage actually paying for better service. during the recent moves however, it has become very clear that i can’t afford to not have thorough monitoring in place. so, if you’re comparing uptime monitoring services and stumbled on this blog i’ll just say you absolutely have to consider pingdom. at work we use another service that our sys admin likes, but it was a little more expensive. he’s going to take a look at pingdom too and see if we can save a little bread and still get the same quality of service.

pingdom doesn’t just ping. it monitors all the other fun stuff too: http, https, tcp port, dns, udp, stmp, pop3, imap, post data and will check for specific strings on a resulting page. you can get notifications via email, sms, twitter and iphone.

money well spent..